- Tanner's first words on his first
Joe Tanner has enjoyed a satisfying and
high-profile career as a NASA astronaut. Beginning as a trainer, he
soon graduated to spacewalker,
then repairer of the Hubble telescope, then worker on the International Space Station. He's known around the
world for his accomplishments, but nowhere does the pride run deeper than
in his hometown of Danville, Illinois.
(If you live in the Danville,
Illinois area, the best source for information about Joe Tanner is a
clippings file maintained by the Public Library's Reference
Joseph R. Tanner was born in
Danville, Illinois on January 21, 1950. His parents are Doctors L.W. and
Megan Tanner, longtime physicians in Danville. An Eagle Scout, Joe
was taught to fly by his father at the Vermilion County Airport.
He graduated from Danville High School in 1968 and earned a B.S. in
engineering in 1973 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
where he was a star swimmer.
Tanner joined the Navy after college,
earning his pilot wings in 1975. He served as an advanced jet
instructor in Florida before starting at NASA in 1984 as an aerospace engineer and research
pilot. He has accumulated almost 9,000 hours in military and NASA
aircraft and over 1,000 hours in space, including nearly 50 hours in space
Joe lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife, Martha, and two sons,
William and Matthew.
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STS-66 (November 3-14,1994)
-- ATLAS-3 mission, which studied the Earth's atmosphere composition and
solar effects of the sun's 11-year cycle.
STS-82 (February 11-21,1997)
-- Perhaps Joe Tanner's finest hour, where he serviced the Hubble Space
Telescope during two space walks, helping restore it to near-perfect
STS-97 (November 30-December
11, 2000) -- Fifth Space Shuttle mission dedicated to assembling the
International Space Station, during which Tanner
performed three space walks.
STS-115 Atlantis (September
9-21, 2006) -- Successfully restarted assembly of the International
Space Station. Joe made two spacewalks totaling more than 13
hours. This was Joe
Tanner's final Space Shuttle mission.
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Military Aviation Hall of Fame
Exceptional Service Medal
Stuart M. Present Flight
NASA Space Flight Medal (NASA)
JSC Superior Achievement Award
Outstanding Alumnus of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of
Distinguished graduate from Navy
Top 100 Graduate (University of
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Joe attends a luncheon in Danville, holding
the city flag that orbited Earth aboard space shuttle Atlantis
in November 1994. (Photo by Paul Uttermohlen,
Joe floats above the Earth on his second
spacewalk to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, February
1997. (Photo by NASA).
Addressing Danville students, May 1997.
These presentations are a priority for Tanner, and he has
delivered dozens throughout the years. (Photo
by Chuck Cannady, courtesy Commercial-News).
Joe returned to Danville in November
2006, shortly after his final Shuttle mission. For
several busy days he spoke
at local schools, libraries, museums, and other
locations, and even participated
in the annual "Night of Lights" parade. Above,
he addresses a crowd at Danville Public Library. Below,
he presents the Library with a special plaque
commemorating his final Shuttle Mission, STS-115 Atlantis,
featuring items flown on the mission. Behind
him is the Atlantis' official insignia.
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bids farewell to space -- Joe reflects on the October 2006
flight of Atlantis, his final Space Shuttle mission.
Bio -- Details about Joe's career in the Navy and at NASA.
article -- Info about the "helmet-cams" worn by Tanner and
astronaut Carlos Noriega during their construction work on the
International Space Station.
first walk in space -- Text, pictures, and sound from CNN.
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